Metro Detroit nurse sings 'Amazing Grace' for national audience at COVID-19 memorial

Elisha Anderson
Detroit Free Press

Lori Key, 29, performed at a nationwide COVID-19 memorial in Washington D.C. before President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris. The memorial was part of the inauguration events

Lori Key, a nurse from St. Mary Mercy Livonia Hospital, poses for a photo outside of her home in Belleville on April 4, 2020.

Key, a registered nurse who works at St. Mary Mercy hospital in Livonia, said working as a COVID-19 nurse was heartbreaking.

“When I’m at work I sing,” she said during the memorial. “It gives me strength during difficult times, and I believe it helps heal.”

TV broadcast her performance live and it was also streamed online. The event honored the 400,000 lives lost to the coronavirus across the country. 

“To heal, we must remember. It’s hard sometimes to remember, but that’s how we heal,” Biden said. “It’s important to do that as a nation. That’s why we’re here today.” 

On Monday, Key announced on Facebook she would be singing at the event.

"I am lost for words right now," she wrote. "Can't believe I'm here. What an adventure and dream. All glory to God!"

Before her performance Tuesday, she wrote a text message to a Free Press reporter.

"From this performance I want people to rise above the pandemic and unite as a nation because we're all in this together," Key said.

People across the country heard Key’s voice last year when a video of her singing "Amazing Grace" to co-workers treating COVID-19 patients was posted online. It quickly spread widely on social media.

Key comes from a musical family and grew up singing in church. She thanked her supporters in a Facebook message.

“Thank you everyone for all the love, shares, encouraging comments and support,” she wrote Tuesday. “Pray for me while I'm up there! People who are close to me and know me, (know) I have bad nerves lol. God be with me.” 

The Presidential Inaugural Committee hosted the COVID-19 memorial. It included a lighting around the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool.

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